Friday, October 09, 2009

A free ride when you've already paid

Did Obama win the Nobel Peace Prize for not being George W. Bush?

Maybe, although, hey, let’s not underestimate the value of not being George W. Bush.

Across the country, the heads of right-wing chicken hawks are exploding, as they are confronted once again with proof of their own ideological isolation, and the possibility that their emotional investment in their belief system might be preventing them from seeing a more moderate truth.

One dinkus I saw this morning even quoted Neville Chamberlain. Yes, really. I mean, come on, right wingers, quoting Neville Chamberlain is so 2008. Neville Chamberlain quotes are the wingnut version of Tuesdays with Morrie. So here’s the quote:

"I believe it is peace for our time. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. And now I recommend you to go home and sleep quietly in your beds."

The above was said after Chamberlain signed the Munich Agreement in 1938, which essentially was the treaty version of giving a shark a nice big piece of chum in the hope that it will agree to stop being a shark. The right-winger who was quoting Chamberlain was attempting to make a point about appeasement and Iran. Because Obama, who has agreed to actually talk to the leaders of Iran, is an appeaser. GET IT?

What conservatives miss…um…or rather, one of the myriad of things that conservatives miss in this analogy is that ENGLAND WAS NOT PREPARED TO GO TO WAR. England had fuck all to fight with, people. They were still in the process of building up their armaments, including what would eventually become the truly awesome Royal Air Force of WW2.


But the analogy is perhaps apt in an unintended way. Because beginning in the early 1930s, Chamberlain embarked on a controversial policy called rationalisation, in which the obsolete and crumbling industrial infrastructure of the country was knocked down and rebuilt with government funds. As in taxpayers’ moolah. The conservatives in the government (including Churchill) opposed this, shall we say strongly? But it was this initiative that allowed, among other things, for the buildup of the U.K.’s war machine. Until then, the RAF was still flying WW1-type biplanes, for pete’s sake. If England had entered WW2 before 1939, it would have been fighting against Germany’s state-of-the-art Messerschmitt with what was essentially Snoopy’s Sopwith Camel.

So, I’m not going to speculate about whether Chamberlain would have entered WW2, and at what time. His support eroded, and he stepped down to make way for Churchill, so we will never know. What we do know, however, is that he negotiated peace as he prepared for war, and I really find it interesting that any person claiming to be a conservative would find fault with such an eminently practical policy.

Also, for all those conservatives out there who use the Chamberlain quote in an attempt at irony…please don’t. Don’t attempt irony. Because irony is, contrary to popular belief, nothing like rain on your wedding day. Irony requires self-awareness, and an ability to see situations from a perspective other than your own self-centered one. So you kinda suck at it.

A much more relevant ironic observation we could make, as the world attempts, with this Nobel Peace Prize, to nudge the American people toward peace, involves Iran. Because I personally find it ironic that during the Clinton administration, when Iran elected a liberal leader, it was the opposition conservatives in that country’s government who stymied progress to end their isolation. Even now, as the people of Iran once again show overwhelming support for a more liberal government, it is the conservatives who keep the country from agreeing to the U.N. initiatives, and they do so because they object to a policy of appeasement.

Perhaps the conservatives of the U.S. and Iran would agree to duke it out in some remote corner of the world, so that those who are truly interested in peace could go about making it manifest. I would be in favor of this policy. And as for that remote corner where they may proceed to battle to the death – may I suggest Alaska?

Many thanks to my blogger friend SJ for the inspiration for this post.


Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Brilliant, as usual.

Michael said...

I'd bear your children, but only if God promises they'd never see me being pig-headed and stupid.

SkylersDad said...

Outstanding Vikki.

SJ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SJ said...

So this morning, I'm countering conservative spouts about this and I write (on someone's fb page):

"Maybe the prize people were trying to help our country reunite itself. I hope they were (even though I don't see that happening again in my lifetime) President Obama, seriously, did more to erase the sting of the past 8 years, to unite the world behind America, leading up to and after his election than anyone else could have done. It's not nothing. Others may have done more to deserve it, sure, I have no doubt whatsoever, but we are a nation in crisis and they want him to help us succeed.

And if nothing else, it's an amazing "F*ck You" to George W. Bush. Gotta love that."

What happened? The only response was that I got blasted (by a conservative) for using profanity. (I actually did use the asterisk in my comment so as not to offend the friends of my friend. But, hello? MY FUCKING COMMENT. Everyone knows I'm a profanity spouting uppity woman. Fuuck.)

On another page, a white conservative guy I didn't know said to me (on a thread where I didn't cuss, not one time), "You do have convictions, I'll give you that. But your defensiveness is unbecoming."

Oh really? Unbecoming as what? A citizen? Uppity, uppity me. Uppity, uppity Vikki. Can't we learn to stay in our place?

vikkitikkitavi said...

SJ: If I believed in God, I'd nominate you for sainthood.

SJ, Patron Saint of Putting Up With Idiocy.

Skillzy said...

So old Neville had it planned out all along, eh? He bought time to shore up Great Britain with what, 10 million lives or so? Smashing!

The current administration will keep smooching on Ahmadinejad and cancelling missle defenses and "talking things out" right up until they start launching. But hey, we stood by our principles, and we can feel good about not being all testosterone-y. We're too far away for them to hit anyway. Lucky us.

vikkitikkitavi said...

Well, "Skillzy," I think you missed my point beautifully, but that's hardly a surprise. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Alaska? I know someone who would be absolutely perfect for the between rounds cardgirl job. Also, there too, you betcha.

Marshall Park Slope said...

Well we could all be like my buddy in VA I spoke with last weekend, and I quote, "we should just bomb those mf's (Iran) before they bomb us". There you go.

thank you vikki, i can no better than Dr VM and my normal comment, BRILLIANT!

Larry Jones said...

Ha! For eight years during the recent Republican Reign of Error I kept hearing (from the Repubs) variations on "You lost! Shut up!" The Nobel Peace Prize is one more opportunity to throw that back into their apoplectic faces, and you've done a fine job of that, Vikki. The thing I don't understand is if the Nobel Prize is not a prestigious award but merely a bribe to make Obama act like a sissified European scaredy cat, why are the right wingers making such a big deal of it?

bubbles said...

Alaska! Ha, good one! Been missing your posts!!

GETkristiLOVE said...

SV read your post first and loved the line, "the heads of right-wing chicken hawks are exploding."

I can only hope that a death row pardon for W. comes a minute too late.

Grant Miller said...

Not to go all Lloyd Bentsen, but Ahmadinejad is no Hitler and Iran is not WWII Germany. Not yet, at least.

kittens not kids said...

is there anything you don't know, or anything on which you cannot comment intelligently, articulately and insightfully?

i mean, sopwith camels? neville chamberlain?

you're good, vikki-tikki-tavi. very, very good.

vikkitikkitavi said...

As for my interest in WW2 aircraft, I blame my brother. He was obsessed, and because of his obsession, I can still tell a Hellcat from Wildcat.

dguzman said...

The thing I miss the most about living in Cali: being in the same state as your brilliance. I miss that.

I watched Daily Show last night, and Jon Stewart talked about how Arafat won a prize for shaking hands with a Jew. I'd say Obama's done at least as much, so STFU all of you exploding-head chickenhawks!

I've missed you!

Johnny Yen said...

I was watching a tv show last weekend about the top ten fight aircraft ever. The Spitfire was not #1, but it was deemed "Most Beautiful Fighter Aircraft Ever."

Tom Lehrer once said that irony died the day Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Obama's award may or may not have been premature, but I sure as hell sleep easier knowing a guy who's real smart, hard-working and who seems to grasp that the United States cannot be at war with the whole world is at the helm.

And now I've got to go look for a good biography of Chamberlain.

vikkitikkitavi said...

JY: Well, I love me some Hellcats and Mustangs, but Spitfires, man, nothing beats a Spitfire.